I feel like my principal picks on 1st year teachers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jan 6, 2009

    It's hard to explain, but I feel like my P waits for situations to pounce on us, or tries to make us look bad. At first I thought I was being oversensitive, but a colleague of mine brought it up too. For example, she popped in for an unannounced observation 2 days before Christmas break. Is it me, or is that a bit mean? Even the vets have a hard time that week. Another example was she emailed all the new teachers at 9:30 one night, saying she wanted our plans in her box the next morning. It's almost like she wants to catch the ones not prepared so she can have a reason to get mad. I have other examples, but I don't want to delve out too much here. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells lately :unsure:
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 6, 2009

    That sounds like my principal two years ago. It just wasn't first year teachers, but any teacher who was new to the district. There was a teacher who had taught the same grade for 20 years. The principal scheduled an observation the week before Christmas break, and though she did well, it wasn't the best that she could do because the students were off the wall!!! After that year more than half the new teachers left for other schools. She was forced to retire that same year.

    The only advice I can give, is just do everything she tells you to do, document everything, and just do the best you can do.
     
  4. reverie

    reverie Companion

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    Jan 6, 2009

    Sounds like my principal last year! That's really tough.
     
  5. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jan 7, 2009

    The funny thing is, (and what makes the eggshells) is that she's not a mean-hearted person. She seems to have these moodswings where she goes on a rampage. It's really hard to know where I stand with her. One day I may be feeling great, and the next day I'm prepared for a curt email about something or other.

    Well anyway, wish me luck. I have a hunch she's coming in again today to observe (she went to 3 newbies yesterday)
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2009

    As a mom, I'm actually hoping she does catch the ones who aren't prepared. No first year teacher should ever count on being able to "wing it"-- it simply doesn't work that way.

    As to the obsservation the week before Christmas, I'll agree that that's intimidating. But how did it go? Did she expect the kids to be quite and fully on task, or were her expectations a bit more reasonable than that?
     
  7. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Actually that observation went really well. Right after she left I thought I had bombed it, and I had to fight back tears. But it turns out there were no major problems (she said I should work on two particular students blurting out.) I felt bad though, because another first year teacher didn't get a good review. But she's not a better teacher than me - I think she got my P on a bad afternoon :( That's what I'm scared about today.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2009

    Honestly, as much as it gives everyone the heebie-geebies, those sort of observations are the best ones-- when the observer sees the kids at their worst, but knows it's not really all about the teacher. The kids were too excited about the holidays to put on an act, so the principal saw them probably as you typically do. Sometimes the kids go so out of their way to help you out for an observation that the observer doesn't have a clear view of what's going on.

    Last year I had an observation for my slowest class. They're a hyper bunch, and my department chair knew that going in. (He and I have also worked together forever; the year he was hired. was my first as department chair.)

    They were on their best behavior-- but you know how relative that is. John saw the first half of a double period.

    When we talked about the class, he laughed and said he was glad he didn't have to teach them. Then I let him know just how good they really were-- and that he would have heard a totally different thing had he been out in the hallway for the second half, when they didn't feel they had to do me any favors.

    My point is this: a principal who has been "in the trenches" and knows just how hard a classroom can be is your best ally. He or she can shape new teachers into the kind of teachers they always wanted to be. But it's a two way street. They have to be willing to be prepared, to take criticism, and to ask for help.

    The ones who crash and burn are very often the ones who come in assuming that college has taught them everything they need to know.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2009

    Pisces-my principal was the same way! At the interview, she was all nice. Even during the first few months she was nice, but then something happened in November and she turned into this person that was out to get anyone and everyone. I hope everything goes okay the rest of the year!
     
  10. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Jan 7, 2009

    Is it legal, according to your contract, for your P to observe right before a holiday?
     
  11. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jan 7, 2009

    Our P gets memos from Central Office that he has to have his observations turned in on time, so he jumps on the band wagon and evaluates everyone at the last minute too.

    Don't let it bother you, do what you're supposed to do every day and it won't ever matter when you're observed. Observations are supposed to be constructive, if things don't go well P's are supposed to make suggestions that will help you during your career. If you have a mean spirited P things will eventually catch up with them.
     
  12. old-new teacher

    old-new teacher Comrade

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    Jan 7, 2009

    I have to agree with Alice here, observations are supposed to be a chance for your P to see your "real" classroom.

    The observation before holiday, perhaps the P was there to be a presence in the room so that perhaps the kids would be better behaved for their teacher.

    I can't help it, I'm a glass-half-full type, so I always try to assume the positive first.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 8, 2009

    Why wouldn't it be? Those are contracted teaching days for which we're paid, right?
     
  14. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Jan 9, 2009

    Pisces_Fish is in NC and so am I - not sure if it is state wide but as a new teacher in the 1st 3 years here you are required to have 4 formal observations - 3 from your P or AP and 1 from a peer. They are scheduled in Oct, Dec, Feb and April and can be done anytime during the month and then turned in to the county admin so they can protect themselves in case the state audits them and so when the 3 years are up the new teachers can apply for the professional status license or career status - I think that it's called here.
     

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